It’s 4:30 a.m. Monday morning in Delhi right now. That’s where I’ll be in less than 24 hours.
India. Tomorrow. For three and a half months.
I keep telling myself that and still, I can hardly believe it. Really, I can’t. My conception of the South Asian subcontinent is limited to the Indian breakfasts my mom makes every Sunday morning, some Google research and a couple of scenes from A Little Princess.
(I kid. But srsly.)
For one of my classes, I’ve been asked to come up with a list of assumptions and expectations I have about Indian culture, people and my study abroad experience in general. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
- Allergens everywhere: dust, dirt, monkey/camel/cow/elephant/people dander.
- Whether I gain or lose 10lbs will depend on how successfully I resist one of two things: a.) chapatis’ fried, greasy, straight-to-your-thighs goodness b.) cold, uncooked, swarming-with-shigella fruits and yogurt (my dietary staples).
- Microbes also everywhere, especially the vomit and fever inducing kind. Bring on the hand sanitizer.
- I’ve been told the goats in India like to bite.
- And that northern India has a “monkey problem.”
- And that locals will stare at me because I’m foreign, Western (= $$$) and a woman.
- Roadside and market vendors will be pushy. I’ll steer clear from the street food, but I’ll give in to the textiles. And I’ll probably get ripped off.
- Pedestrians do not have the right of way.
- At the end of the semester, I’ll leave India in some intrinsically vague and beautiful way “a better person.” Braver. Wiser. More grown up.
- I’ll also know how to “squat.”
It’s going to be one helluva semester. See you December 13th.